Sunday, May 11, 2008

Iron Man Review

The summer blockbuster season has begun, and it looks like there are actually several great flicks to see at theatres this year. To kick things off, we have the critically acclaimed Iron Man, based on the Marvel Comics property of the same name.

Heralded by many to be the greatest superhero film ever made, Iron Man follows the personal redemption of industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who goes from arms manufacturer to a superhero wearing the most advanced suit of armour ever made (of his own design and manufacture, of course).

While I wouldn't call Iron Man the greatest superhero flick ever (Spider-Man holds that title for me), it certainly is one of the best, and is filled with tongue-in-cheek humour everywhere. While the fact that Peter Parker is an everyday yutz carries the Spider-Man trilogy, Robert Downey Jr.'s excellent, whitty, and dry performance give such great life and character to Tony Stark that Iron Man is simply a joy to watch.

While starting out as a pompous jerk who's sole goal is to make money and bed hot models, Stark is abducted while performing a weapons demonstration in the Middle East, and fatally wounded in the heart. While ultimately creating an implant that saves his life, Stark witnesses first hand the brutality that his arms race is causing, and after his rescue, vows to turn over a new leaf. This leads him to create his armour to help protect those who can't defend themselves, and to try and remove his previously manufactured weapons from the wrong hands.

Iron Man's "heart" me be that fancy implant, but it's really the simple morality of right and wrong, combined with excellent effects and action, that meld beautifully with Robert's performance. While Stark's change of heart (yeah, I should stop with these jokes already) is considered as post traumatic stress disorder by most, his opposition clearly becomes manifest in his protege and partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). Obadiah wants Stark Industries to continue down the lucrative path it's always travelled, by any means necessary, but thankfully Stark finds support not only in the form of his lovely assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), but also through his military contact Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard).

My only major gripe with Iron Man has to be with the terrorists at the beginning of the film. I'm sorry, but without giving too much away, if Stark really was in captivity for three months, his captors would have noticed that something was going on and dealt with the matter; that lack of action was too unbelievable for me, even for a comic book flick.

Otherwise, however, Iron Man is an excellent film and well worth the watch for not just comic book fans, but fans of summer action flicks the world over. If the rest of the upcoming blockbusters are anywhere near this good, 2008 just might be the best year the silver screen has seen in a long, long time. Don't forget to stay until the end of the credits!

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